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It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day. Most of the houses and trees outside were decorated. People walked down the streets in heavy winter coats and scarves. A teenage boy named Mark was on his couch, watching the setting outside of his window. He smiled, knowing today was Christmas Eve.
Mark was thinking about what his family had planned to do later. His parents, unfortunately, still had to work today. However, they promised they would be home at six. Then, they, and his little sister Kathleen, could all cook dinner and enjoy it together. He couldn’t wait until then.
Kathleen, who was a fourth grader, walked over and sat next to her brother. “Mark, what time is it?”
Mark sighed. “It’s only four o’clock,” he answered. Kathleen had been asking him the same question over and over again since noon.
Suddenly, the phone rang. Mark stepped off of the couch and picked up the phone. “Hello?”
“Hi Mark, this is Mom,” said a woman’s voice.
“Hi Mom, what’s up?” Mark asked.
Mark’s mom sighed. “Honey, Dad and I won’t be coming home tonight until eight. We’re both really busy right now.”
“I thought we were going to make dinner together though!” Mark protested.
“Not tonight, I’m sorry. There’s some chicken in the fridge that you can heat up for dinner. We can have our Christmas dinner tomorrow instead. I have to go now, bye!”
“Bye,” Mark said rather depressingly. He then put the phone back done. “Kathleen, we’re having chicken for dinner. Mom and Dad aren’t coming home until eight,” he told Kathleen.
“No, I want to have a Christmas Eve dinner with Mom and Dad!!!” Kathleen yelled.
Mark frowned. “Sorry, Kathleen.” He picked the phone back up and called his friend Sebastian. He soon heard Sebastian’s voice. “Hey Mark!”
“Hi Sebastian. Are you having a Christmas dinner tonight?”
“Yes!” Sebastian answered. “My family’s going to have a feast!”
“Lucky,” Mark mumbled. “My parent’s are coming home late, so I don’t get a feast, just chicken.”
“I’m sorry,” Sebastian said sympathetically. “Anyways, I have to go cook now, bye!” He then hung up. Mark put the phone back down with a sigh. What was he going to do? "This Christmas sucks," he thought. He sat on the couch, watching people pass by for a few minutes.
Suddenly he had an idea. “I could cook the feast myself!” he said ecstatically. “I’ll make the food, and we can enjoy dinner when both of them get back home!”
Kathleen nodded as well. “I’ll help!” she said.
They quickly set off to the kitchen and began taking things out of the fridge.
Mark got out his mom’s recipes and began flipping through them. “Chicken first, I guess!” He took the chicken out of the fridge and put it into the oven. “It says to preheat it, and then wait for thirty minutes,” he said reading it. “Easy!” He then preheat the oven and closed it.
“Let’s make Yorkshire pudding!” Kathleen shouted.
Mark flipped through the cookbook and found the recipe. “Okay, let’s start! Can you pass me the flour?”
Kathleen handed him a bowl and a bag of flour. Mark carefully measured the flour and poured it into the bowl. “Good! Now we need eggs and milk.” Once again, Kathleen handed him eggs and milk. Mark measured those and poured them into the bowl.
For the next ten minutes, Mark and Kathleen continued this process. Mark allowed Kathleen to carefully mix the ingredients. She laughed, making Mark laugh too. Their parents weren’t there, but it was still fun.
Soon the chicken was done. They took it out of the oven and put it on the table. They finished the Yorkshire pudding and put it next to the chicken. After taking a look at the cookbook, they decided to make a few other things. While they baked and stirred, they sang Christmas songs. “Santa Claus is coming to town!” Mark and Kathleen sang merrily.
After about two hours, they had the table set up. Kathleen hummed as she set the table with spoons and forks. Mark put the rest of the food at the center of the table. He took a look at the clock. “There’s only about ten more minutes until they’re home!” Mark said happily.
Kathleen smiled. “Yes! They’ll be extremely surprised!”
“Yup! Let’s go over to the couch and wait for them to come.” Mark suggested. Kathleen nodded in agreement.
So the two of them each got on one side of the couch. Mark turned on the lights of their Christmas tree, and the colors of the lights danced against the walls. Kathleen turned off the lamp to make the Christmas lights even more visible.
“Looks like it’s not going to be a white Christmas,” Kathleen said a bit sadly.
“Yeah,” said Mark. “It hasn’t snowed yet. It might snow later though.”
Ten minutes passed and they didn’t come home yet. Soon fifteen, then twenty minutes were up. Kathleen was looking glumly out the window.
A short while later, the doorbell rang. Kathleen leaped off of the couch and bolted toward the door. She checked the window. “It’s your friend Sebastian,” she said, sounding crestfallen.
“Oh,” Mark said in a surprised tone. He walked over to the door and opened it. Standing in the doorway was Sebastian and his family, all holding candles, flickering in the night. “Hi Sebastian! Hi Mrs. and Mr. Jacobson!” he said in greeting.
Sebastian grinned. “May we come in?”
“Of course!” Mark answered.
Sebastian and his parents stepped in the house. They placed their candles on the side table and went over to the dining room. Sebastian set down a plate of potatoes. Mr. Jacobson placed down a plate with a beautiful red velvet cake. Mrs. Jacobson added a plate of green beans and sweet corn.
Mark gasped. “Did you guys….”
Sebastian nodded. “Christmas is about enjoying yourselves with family and friends! We should have a feast, together! Now we just need to wait for your parents.”
Mark smiled. “I appreciate all of this very much, Sebastian!”
“This is what friends are for!” Sebastian laughed. “Don’t thank me!”
Mark, Kathleen, Sebastian, and his parents, all walked over to the front door. Everyone slipped on their boots and went outside. A car came over and turned into the driveway. Mark’s parents stepped out of the car.
Immediately, Mark turned on the outdoor Christmas lights. The house then lit up. “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” they all shouted.
Mark’s mother and father looked around. Their eyes were wide in amazement. “We have a feast set up inside!” Sebastian told them.
“Thank you all very much! We're sorry for being late,” Mark’s mother said gratefully. “Samantha, this is too much!” she told Mrs. Anderson.
Mrs. Anderson laughed. “Don’t worry about it, Jennifer!”
Both families opened the door and entered the house. They were about to close the door when Kathleen yelled, “IT’S SNOWING!”
Everyone looked out the door. Indeed, snow was beginning to fall from the sky. Mark, Sebastian, and Kathleen all rushed outside and held their hands out, catching the little snowflakes. They laughed and danced around as snow continued to cascade down. It was a truly magical sight.
After a while, everyone went inside and settled down at the dining table. “This looks wonderful!” Mark’s father exclaimed. “Let’s dig in!”
Everyone then began to eagerly pile their plates with food. The entire table was soon deep in conversation. Everyone was laughing, smiling, talking, and having a good time. It was a fantastic Christmas Eve for them all.
As Mark settled in the bed that night, he looked out the window.
"Christmas is truly a magical time of the year," he thought. "It’s during this time, where you get to enjoy your time with family and friends." A streak of light appeared in the night sky. “A shooting star!” he heard Kathleen whisper.
Mark put his hands together and closed his eyes. "If I can wish for one thing, it’s to be able to celebrate Christmas like this every year."